Sunday, January 12, 2014

Questions and engagement . . .

Last Friday Dawn and I had the opportunity with our learning cohort to visit a member district that included viewing a video of a principal meeting and two classroom observations.  I was impressed by the district's transparency and desire for feedback.  The focus of the work at the system level was on central office transformation to support principals as instructional leaders. In the classroom they asked us to focus on classroom engagement and questioning, two areas that are also a focus in our school system.

I share this because of the infographic on Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day that I read this weekend.  It would serve as a nice point of departure for a conversation with the two teachers we observed and also in our own work.  The five questions are a reminder to assist us in asking questions that move the conversation to a higher level and that probe for deeper reflection on the part of students.

1 comment:

Scott Mitchell said...

Mike, this chart that is attached is a great reminder of 5 questions we can use. Today, I was observed for the second time by my principal for the new TPEP model and I put these 5 questions up on my computer screen to remind of good questioning strategies since this is one of my focus areas. In my lessons today on interpreting remainders, I used all 5 of these questions at various times with two different classes. It was really powerful when I used the question "Can you tell me more?" I have never asked that question in that way and the one student I asked first was taken back a bit at first but then was able to expand on her thinking. A question that I often use in my teaching and did again today was, "Does anyone else have something more to add to that thinking?" . Kids really responded to this today and adding thoughts upon thoughts. After some of the responses I also asked kids what questions they still had and a couple of times kids had clarifying questions about why something was the way it was or how to do something. Very powerful. Questioning is sometimes can be a step that is skipped in lieu of time or pacing but it really gets to the point.

On a side note, my other area of focus is wait time, as this has been pointed out in the past by both my principal and you as an area to think about more. Today was a big test in wait time. The new Common Core Standards have made for changes in the rigor of the work and in today's 60 minute lesson we completed 5 problems each having one way to interpret a remainder. They were complex and time consuming problems for kids to solve but the kids did great. It really tested my wait time though as we spent over 10 minutes on each problem, not easy for a person who likes to clip along at a quicker pace.